The Hunter’s Chase
By Val Penny
Today I am pleased to be part of the Love Books Group Tour presenting “Hunter’s Chase” by Val Penny who has also gained accolades on this book such as “up there with Ian Rankin”.
Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.
DI Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city and he needs to find the source but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course. Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable. Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taught crime thriller.
Hunter’s Chase is a police procedural crime novel. It is set in Edinburgh, Scotland in November 2012. It is character driven. The central character is Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson. He must discover why three people in his city have been killed and who is responsible for those three deaths.
The first body has been dead for a few days before it is discovered. The cause of death and the identity of the victim (Mary-Ann Johnson) are both unknown. Hunter sees the second murder take place, when the victim is mown down by a car in a car park. Hunter knows the victim (Billy Hope) but cannot identify the killer and cannot recall crucial details correctly. The third victim’s attack is also witnessed by neighbours but everybody seems to have seen different things. The victim (Annie Johnson) is not carrying any means of identification.
Central to Hunter’s investigations are three young men and their fathers: DC Tim Myerscough and former Chief Constable Sir Peter Myerscough, petty thief Jamie Thomson and Ian Thomson who is presently incarcerated, and lastly loved up Frankie Hope and loan shark former councillor and Billy Hope.
The reader first meets Jamie Thomson who is carrying on his family business and breaking into a house in fine areas of the city. On this occasion he breaks into the house of Sir Peter Myerscough. Sir Peter is now the Justice Secretary in the Scottish Government. Sir Peter gives chase and catches Jamie after he trips over a corpse in the grounds of a local golf course. Sir Peter calls the police and the team is led by DI Hunter Wilson.
The next characters introduced are Annie Johnson, her parents, Mary-Ann Johnson and Joe Johnson and her boyfriend, Frankie Hope. Annie is a pretty girl who is pregnant by Frankie, a gentle young man. Annie’s mother knows about the pregnancy and has undertaken to tell Joe. It is clear, Mary-Ann has a secret that she had to confess to Joe. Mary-Ann had an affair with Frankie’s father, Billy Hope. Annie and Frankie are half siblings. Frankie’s mother Edna Hope is Jamie’s aunt.
Edna meets with Arjun Mansoor, the man who is running Ian Johnson’s car showroom while he is in jail. They argue. Hunter learns Arjun is found to be importing cocaine in luxury imported cars. Sir Peter Myercough is amongst his cocaine customers. He has been black-mailed and made fraudulent insurance claims to pay.
At first there is no apparent connection between the three attacks which find Mary-Ann dead, see Billy killed in a Tesco car park and Annie fatally injured in a leafy Edinburgh suburb. Annie is kept alive by the hospital trying to save the twins she is carrying. When the pathologist Meera Sharma confirm that Mary-Ann was also hit by a car, before her body was dumped, Hunter’s team believe they have a serial killer.
The victims have all been attacked with cars. One of the cars reported as stolen by Arjun Mansoor, the other belongs to Ian Thomson. Hunter’s main suspects are Joe Johnson, and Arjun Mansoor.
Annie dies after the delivery of her twins. Frankie and Joe attend the hospital and Joe confirms to Frankie that Annie was his half-sister. Frankie names the twins Kylie and Dannii after the Minogue sisters.
Tim is attacked by the car driver after Sir Peter tells his son where he is likely to find Ian Thomson’s car. Tim survives and sees the driver, Edna Hope. His testimony and DNA found in the cars allow Hunter to link her to each of the three deaths. Arjun and Sir Peter are convicted for their crimes.
“Fucking thief! Stop thief! Fuck! Fucking stop!” Sir Peter bellowed into the darkness.
“Yeah, that’ll work,” thought Jamie, as he jumped the wall and tore round the corner. He kept on running, but soon heard puffing behind him and realised his victim was giving chase. He was quick for an old one, Jamie thought, but no real match for Jamie, even in his tight shoes. But Sir Peter was clearly one angry man and wasn’t going to give up that easily. That was bad luck.
Jamie vaulted another fence and legged it across the street. He heard some of his haul hit the ground, but didn’t stop for it. He would still have enough; the bag was heavy. He hoped he hadn’t dropped the Breitling; he fancied that. He leapt over a wall and headed into the rough beside the golf course.
Jamie worked at that golf club courtesy of Sir Peter Myerscough; the irony was not lost on Jamie. He figured he knew the land well enough to make a clean getaway. He had not counted on his victim being home so early. He also had no idea Sir Peter could give chase so well. Unlucky. Oh shit, that old guy was gaining on him! How could he do that? Jamie had to move.
It was more difficult to cross the wooded area around the course in the damp and dark than he had thought it would be with his tight shoes. This damn bag didn’t help; it kept getting caught on branches. He dodged amongst the bushes and behind the trees to avoid his victim, but the old boy just kept coming. He would not give up, but the ground was wet and the leaves on the ground were slippery.
Fuck! Jamie tripped.
His ankle gave a deafening crack that was only drowned out by Jamie’s screams. Must be the root of a tree that tripped him. He could not get up. His ankle would not take his weight; it was buggered. He tried to crawl into the undergrowth. It bloody hurt, and he could not get away. Sir Peter would find him soon now. Jamie could not move but he thought fast. He threw his bag as far as he could, just to get it away from himself. His silk gloves meant there would be no prints. He tried to bury the stuff from his pockets. His ankle was agony. Jamie felt something strange where he dug into the ground, but he had too many other things on his mind to worry too much about that.
The old boy reached him and leaned towards Jamie. Sir Peter, cursing and panting, doubled over balancing on his knees. He yanked back Jamie’s hood and shone his torch into the thief’s eyes. Recognition.
“Jamie Thomson, it’s you! Scum! You broke into my house? Fucking ingrate! You are a thieving rodent. Do you know how hard I argued to get you that job at the golf club? And this is the thanks I get? You pissing rat. I spoke up for you, for rehabilitation; I really fought for you. There are half a dozen decent houses in my street. Why mine?”
“Oh no. Not you, Sir Peter!” Jamie tried to sound surprised. Then his curiosity set in. “So whose house would you have suggested I go to instead? Which one would you rather I’d tried?”
About the Author
Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels.
Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ and Hunter’s Revenge are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The third book in the series, Hunter’s Force, follows shortly.
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